Atlanta United sets another MLS attendance record
ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta United scored two first-half goals and held on for a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire on Sunday, setting another Major League Soccer attendance record and securing a spot in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League.
But United’s main objective, the Supporters’ Shield for the best regular-season record in MLS, will go down to the final week of the regular season. New York Red Bulls remained one point behind the Five Stripes with a 1-0 victory at Philadelphia.
United improved to 21-6-6 for 69 points, tying the MLS points record set last season by Toronto FC. The Atlanta club will get a chance to break the mark when it faces the Canadian team next Sunday in the regular-season finale.
Atlanta drew its seventh 70,000-plus crowd of the season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, finishing with a total of 901,033 fans for a per-game average of 53,002. That easily eclipsed the mark of 48,200 that was set in its inaugural season.
Atlanta jumped ahead less than 10 minutes into the game on Franco Escobar’s first goal in league play. The Fire finally found the back of the net in the 24th minute on a play that left Atlanta pleading for an offside penalty. Michael de Leeuw wound up all alone in front of the goal with two of his teammates and Guzan didn’t have a chance, watching helplessly as the Fire player slid the ball across the line for his second goal of the season. After a video review, the play was allowed to stand.
Just two minutes later, United regained the lead with an own goal.
D.C. UNITED 3, NYCFC 1
WASHINGTON (AP) — Wayne Rooney scored twice, Luciano Acosta had a goal and an assist and D.C. United wrapped up a playoff berth with the victory over New York City FC.
Acosta was the sparkplug for D.C., setting up Rooney eight minutes into the game and scoring from distance in the 24th minute.
Acosta, tied for the league lead with 17 assists, weaved through a number of defenders as he dribbled down the left sideline and then turned in at the end line. As he neared the goal he found Rooney out front for his team-leading 11th goal. Acosta then notched his 10th goal, pouncing on a loose ball just outside the top the box after a defender tapped it away from Rooney and curling it into the net.
Rooney made it 3-0 with a penalty kick in the 74th minute.
DC (14-11-8) is unbeaten in nine straight matches, with five straight wins.
David Villa scored his 13th for NYCFC in the 78th minute. New York City FC (15-10-8), coming of a 21-day layup, has just one win in its last nine games with one week left in the regular season.
RED BULLS 1, UNION 0
CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — Alejandro Romero Gamarra scored on a second-half penalty kick, Luis Robles had his 13th shutout and New York beat Philadelphia to stay in contention for the Supporters’ Shield.
A Red Bulls corner kick resulted in a handball by Alejandro Bedoya after a video review, setting up Gamarra for his sixth goal.
The Red Bulls (21-7-5), winners of four straight and unbeaten in five, go into the last game next weekend one point behind Atlanta for the best record in the regular season.
Philadelphia (15-13-5), which had three wins during a four-match unbeaten streak, was hoping to clinch the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with wins in its last two games.
SPORTING KC 3, FC DALLAS 0
FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Roger Espinoza and Johnny Russell scored second-half goals and Sporting Kansas City beat FC Dallas to move atop the Western Conference.
Kansas City (17-8-8) is two points ahead of FC Dallas and Los Angeles FC, which plays at Sporting next week in the season finale. Dallas (16-8-9), which has lost two straight since a five-match unbeaten streak, plays at 11th-place Colorado.
Daniel Salloi opened the scoring in the 45th minute by hustling to a blocked shot and sending it inside the far post. Espinoza extended the lead in the 64th by redirecting a header. It was Sporting’s record-breaking 62nd goal of the season. Russell scored his 10th goal on a penalty kick in the 87th for double-digit goals and assists in his debut season.
LAFC 2, WHITECAPS 2, TIE
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Diego Rossi scored two goals and Los Angeles FC tied Vancouver to set an MLS record for points in an inaugural season with 57.
Los Angeles (16-8-9) is tied with second-place FC Dallas, two points behind Sporting Kansas City. LAFC plays at Kansas City on Sunday to end the regular season. Vancouver (12-13-8) was eliminated from the playoffs, sitting five points back of sixth-place Real Salt Lake.
Rossi opened the scoring in the fifth minute and he added his 12th goal of the season 10 minutes later for a 2-0 lead. Yordy Reyna pulled Vancouver to 2-1 in the 22nd minute on a penalty kick and Jordon Mutch tied it in the 65th with a strike from distance.
GALAXY 3, MINNESOTA UNITED 1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in his fifth straight game and added an assist and Los Angeles kept its playoff hopes alive with the win over Minnesota.
Ibrahimovic got his 22nd goal of the season with a header off a cross from Rolf Feltscher in the 30th minute and joined Roy Lassiter (1996) as the only other Major League Soccer player with two five-game goal-scoring streaks in the same season.
With Real Salt Lake losing in Portland in its final game, the Galaxy (13-11-9) will make the playoffs with a home win over Houston next weekend.
After Ola Kamara made it 2-0 in the 50th minute, Ibrahimovic set up Romain Alessandrini a minute later. Angelo Rodriguez scored his fourth for Minnesota (11-19-3), which played before a club-record 52,242 fans in its last game TCF Bank Stadium, in the 53rd minute.
IMPACT 2, TORONTO FC 0
MONTREAL (AP) — Ignacio Piatti scored two second-half goals and Montreal beat Toronto to keep its slim playoff hopes alive.
Montreal (14-15-4) is seventh in the Eastern Conference with 46 points, two points behind Columbus (13-11-9) with one game remaining for both teams. Columbus fell 2-1 to Orlando City on Sunday. Montreal needs to beat New England in the season finale next Sunday, while Columbus would have to tie or lose at home to Minnesota for the Impact to make the playoffs.
Toronto dropped to 9-18-6.
ORLANDO CITY 2, CREW 1
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Sacha Kljestan scored on a penalty kick in stoppage time and Orlando City beat Columbus to keep the Crew from securing a playoff spot.
Columbus (13-11-9) needed a win or a Montreal loss to claim a playoff spot with one game remaining in the regular season. Orlando (8-21-4) ended a three-game losing streak.
Federico Higuain opened the scoring for Columbus in the 54th minute with his sixth goal of the season. Three minutes later, Yoshimar Yotun scored on a penalty kick.
SOUNDERS 3, DYNAMO 2
HOUSTON (AP) — Nicolas Lodeiro had the first three-assist game of his career, giving him a Seattle career record of 35 in the regular season, leading the Sounders past Houston.
Lodeiro’s corners set up headers for Chad Marshall, his fourth of the season, in the 30th minute, and Gustav Svensson, his third, early in the second half. Marshall made his 400th Major League Soccer appearance, just the second field player to reach that milestone.
Kevin Garcia got his first career goal for Houston with a header off a corner from Oscar Boniek Garcia in the 63rd minute. Raul Ruidiaz picked up the winner. Houston ensured a tight finish when a shot from Romell Quioto in the 89th minute skimmed off the head of Mauro Mantoas for his 17th goal.
RAPIDS 0, EARTHQUAKES 0, TIE
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Tim Howard had his fifth shutout of the season and Colorado played San Jose to thedraw in a match between the worst teams in the Western Conference.
Colorado (7-19-7) was trying to win consecutive games for just the third time this season. San Jose (4-20-8) snapped a six-match losing streak. San Jose’s James Marcinkowski had his first clean sheet.